Research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2018 showed that combining drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol cut first-time strokes by 44% in study participants.

High cholesterol levels and blood pressure are known to increase the risk for stroke but it is unclear whether combining medications to lower them can help protect patients from stroke. The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation Study was a large, international study involving over 12,000 patients from 21 countries. During the 5.6 year average follow-up period, 166 strokes occurred. The data demonstrated that individual drugs lowering blood pressure or cholesterol reduced the risk of stroke but when combined, the protective effect was even greater. 

In the study, fixed-dose candesartan and hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) with low-dose rosuvastatin was the most effective combination, reducing first-time strokes by 44% among patients at intermediate-risk for heart disease. For patients with high blood pressure readings (≥143.5mmHg), taking candesartan/HCTZ 16mg/12.5mg daily cut the incidence of stroke by 42%. Moreover, patients who took rosuvastatin 10mg daily demonstrated a 30% reduction in stroke vs placebo. 

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Study authors concluded that moderate-risk patients with high blood pressure should be considered for combination therapy, “and cholesterol-lowering should definitely be considered for all.”  

The development of a single pill that combines treatment for both hypertension and dyslipidemia is also in the works.

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